Standard Engineering began operations in Ellwood City in 1902 at the corner of Second Street and Park Avenue. A Subsidiary of the Standard Steel Car Company from Butler, PA the Ellwood works had previously been the Baker Forge-Hardware Company.
Built 1894, the Baker Forge-Hardware Company was located east of Second Street and stretched from Franklin Avenue to the railroad tracks. The company that had been originally a partnership between J.H. Baker and H.W. Hartman manufactured wagon hardware until being replaced with the manufacturing of railroad steel car forgings. When Standard Steel Car Company took over, the name was changed to the Steel Car Forge Company until 1929 when the name was changed again to the Standard Steel Car Company, Steel Car Forge Division.
It was reported in a 1916 Pittsburgh Gazette that the Steel Car Forge Company was the largest plant of its kind on the North American continent. They manufactured rolling and tube mill machinery, pipe threading machines, sand rolls and high grade gray iron castings. The black and white picture was taken from the Peerless Lead Glass Company at the eastern end of Park Avenue while the color picture appears to have been taken from the former ground of the Ellwood Brick Company.
In the first fourteen years of business, the Steel Car Forge reportedly knew no bad times and continually employed six hundred men. This time even included a strike at the Butler facility of the Standard Steel Car Company where one man was fatally shot when police opened fire into the hostile protestors. On July 19, 1909, an estimated 500 Employees of Standard Wheel Company joined the Standard Steel Car Companies 2,500 Strikers in Butler and things got violent. As mentioned, police fired into the crowd killing one, wounding two and ten others were hurt. Even during all this, the Ellwood works continued to produce.
Standard Engineering considered Ellwood City an ideal place for great manufacturing with an unlimited supply of working people and free from labor trouble. The town’s water and electricity were considered very cheap and it also had what they regarded as a first class fire protection. Ellwood also had the freight service of four great railroad systems with Pittsburgh rates and the additional advantages of no extra charges for transfer.
When times were difficult for other industries, it seemed to have no effect upon the Steel Car Forge Co. Its product, if nothing else had already made Ellwood City famous, would have attracted the eyes of the world to our community because of its being at the very top of the world’s industries. The Steel Car Forge was often referred to as a “mechanical blacksmith shop” operating on a tremendously larger scale. It performed blacksmith work but entirely by machinery. In the early part of the century, the Steel Car Forge Works produced forgings for freight cars and also a general line of forgings for all railroad and for special purposes. Standard typified, as perhaps no other industry could, the progress that had been made by the beginning of the twentieth century.
In May 1934 the Pullman Company ceased operations in Ellwood City and moved all the machinery worth keeping to the Butler facility of the Pullman-Standard Car Manufacturing Company and the property sat empty until 1939 when the property was purchased by a company you might have heard of, the National Tube Company.